It’s interesting how certain smells or sounds remind us of specific things, a person, a place or an activity.
Orange, for example, is one of my favourite smells of Christmas past.
The smell of cinnamon has a similar effect sometimes.
These dried orange slices make the perfect homemade Christmas decorations. They are a natural and rustic way to decorate your tree – easy to make, and as they dry out in the oven, they’ll fill your home with a delicious warm, sweet smell.
What you need
Oranges (I prefer organic oranges for their slightly richer colour)
Sharp knife and chopping board
Baking tray and rack
Thin ribbon or string
For extra decoration: Glitter, star anise and glue (optional)
Preheat oven to 110°C/225°F
Carefully slice your oranges into 1cm slices. Discard the ends that are rind only.
Arrange your orange slices on a cooling rack or direct onto an oven rack.
Bake in the oven for about 4 hours to dry out, checking on them regularly and turning them over so they dry evenly and don’t stick to the rack.
Once the peel is hard and flesh is completely dry, remove from the oven and leave to cool. (Smaller orange slices may dry out faster and need to be removed from the oven before the larger ones.)
For extra decoration, glue whole star anise to the centre of the slices or add a little glitter to the peel. Alternatively make a garland by threading lots of slices onto a longer piece of ribbon – beautiful hung around pictures, mirrors, a mantelpiece or the tree itself.
I pile mine in a small dish on my hall table and enjoy that Christmassy citrus smell for several weeks.